Salmond Confident Of Global Support

Alex Salmond has claimed support for Scottish independence from the majority of world leaders who have not spoken out in favour of keeping the United Kingdom together.

Addressing an audience of international journalists in Edinburgh, the SNP leader said he was entitled to conclude that those who have not responded to "overtures from a desperate administration in Downing Street" to back a No vote do not therefore share its views.

The Foreign Office asked every world leader to back the UK, according to Mr Salmond, but only a few have done so including US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Responding to a question from an Australian journalist, Mr Salmond said: "I think we've got very substantial support on the international stage.

"Given the UK Government asked every world leader to make a statement of support for their position, and given that only a handful have obliged and done so, I think we have to conclude that other world leaders said 'nein' or 'no', or whatever language they were speaking in, to that request from the Foreign Office.

"So I think in these particular circumstances we are entitled to count up all of the world leaders in the great democracies of Europe and elsewhere who obviously declined the Foreign Office Prime Ministerial invitation to say something, and conclude that they therefore did not share that opinion.

"Just as we should look at the almost 3,000 businesses in Business For Scotland who have declined the invitation from Downing Street to speak out against independence, and conclude that they also have rejected the overtures from a desperate administration in Downing Street."

He said he has received several hundred letters from Scots-Australians disassociating themselves from Mr Abbott's views, and suggested it could backfire for him at the ballot box.

Mr Salmond took questions on topics from around the world ranging from Spain's European Union veto, north Atlantic access rights for Galician fishermen, the right to Basque self-determination, Russian trade sanctions, alleged clandestine fact-finding trips to Quebec, visas for Indian students, Scottish involvement in foreign wars and Germany's supposed confusion about Scotland's national identity.

He dismissed claims that Spain would veto Scotland's EU membership with four figures: one, 20, 25 and 60.

"One is the percentage of Scotland's population in the EU; 20 is our percentage of the fish stocks of the EU; 25 is our percentage of the renewable offshore energy potential; and 60 is the percentage of the conventional oil and gas reserves in Europe.

"For these reasons, it's hardly likely anyone across the continent of Europe would wish to exclude such a country."

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